Best way to control 2801 hi power floods?

made in china

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Dec 28, 2011
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Hi all,

My first post here. I have built homemade hi power RGB floods that utilize WS2801 chips along with RS-422 driver/receiver comms chips. I have bench tested my floods using an Arduino, and all seems to work well.

The goal of my project was to build scalable, med-power to very high power RGB floods using a basic WS2801/RS-422 control PCB. The floods are 150W halogen hosts from local department stores with fitted alloy heatsink, and I have the PCB's manufactured in the States. I wanted to avoid DMX at first, as utilizing WS2801 and RS-422 seemed like a good way to bring down the overall system cost, compared to making each flood DMX based. Additionally, I am more of a hardware guy, with no experience at all with DMX. So, I built these floods with no idea of how I will ultimately control them.
In tooling around, I have come up with a "Plan A" using a DMX to pixel device like AVD's APC718, a generic USB to DMX adapter and possibly Freestyler DMX software (as it is free).
In implementation, I would have about 20-30 of these floods around the house along with some med/low power accent pixels, all data lines in series on their own RS-422 comms, connected to a RS-422 TX PCB (homemade) connected to a APC718 connected to a USB-DMX adapter.

I'd like to get some experienced opinion on this. I believe I may have built a relatively unique adaptation of the WS2801 chip, and I don't find much about these chips being used as basis for floods connected on long distances (hence the RS-422 on board).
Does my Plan A seem sorted out correctly?
Has anyone used a APC718 with Freestyler? Or is it a given it should be compatible?
How does DMX software handle a APC718?

My goal is to have built in, year 'round lighting, with each flood being "addressable" (not uniquely, but as in usual shift-register way) that can provide white ambient light off season, and be programmed to also do holiday light shows.

Here's pics of my first prototype using a 10W RGB LED:



 

David_AVD

Really old (now a Grandpa)
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My APC718 is standard DMX512 input, so will work with any software and dongle that supports DMX.

I prefer not to ripple data in and out with (spread out) situations like this. Having each light fixture capable of decoding it's own address means a dead unit will not stop everything past that point working.
 

made in china

New elf
Joined
Dec 28, 2011
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I don't mind a down-the-line failure, as my lights are not mission critical. I agree though, using cheap Chinese 2801 chips and un-proven implementation, I wouldn't be using a serial system like this at a rock concert.

I think though, it's a simple way to put several RGB lighting elements around an area for less money than a full DMX system.
 
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